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  • Have You Been Bitten?

    Is it true that you just have to expect to be bitten? Have all of you been bitten at least once - or have some of you been able to avoid it?

  • #2
    Yes

    It happens. I'll be interested to see if anybody who has groomed years that hasn't. I have to say I'm very opposed to being bitten and take tons of precautions. I have only been bitten 4 times in all after many years but that was more than enough.
    Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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    • #3
      Well, if you're in this job you're going to get bitten. I avoid it most of the time but there are some bites you just don't see coming.

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      • #4
        Yes, I've been bitten several times. Most of the bites are minor, and many are just pinches that don't even bleed. And since I started using the Groomer's Helper I've only had two bites, both of which happened as I was taking the dog off the table, so the GH wasn't hooked up.

        However, I was mauled by a dog back in the mid 90s and had to have plastic surgery on my face.

        And last summer one of those two bites I've gotten since I started using the GH turned nasty. It wasn't much of a bite, just a tiny puncture on the back of my wrist. But a piece of tartar from the dog's tooth broke off in my wrist, it became infected, I ended up in the ER twice for IV antibiotics, and had to have surgery to flush it out and remove that piece of tartar.

        And yes, I'm of the opinion that it goes with the territory and is something you have to keep in the back of your mind at all times. No matter how well you protect yourself, it eventually happens. Maybe not a serious bite that requires medical attention, but a bite, none the less.

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        • #5
          I have been bitten

          I have been grooming for many years. I started over 30 years ago. I guess it is the law of averages that I would be bitten sometime. Actually, I can't recall any in Calif. But many here since 2001 in Az. I guess I should use a muzzle more. Usually, you can see the possibility. My own dog bit me last month badley cuz I went to take his sisters' food bowl away from him. He got me in the right hand between and first finger. You can't let bites worry you. You just have to be careful. I suppose it is part of the profession. In my early years I worked for someone as a comber/bather. I wasn't even grooming Claude, a lhasa. I walked past him where Harry was nearby and Claude reached out and got my . He was a nasty dog. Harry was the Owner of the shop, Claude the dog. It was just me and Harry, no other employees. I guess I didn't touch Claude that day and Harry did him. I have a lot to loose in my left hand, arm. Missing 8 lymph nodes from B. cancer surgery. Never allowed to have Blood pressure, injection or draws from left arm, it can cause lymph fluid to be trapped and then the arm gets huge, never to be normal;size again. So far the bites have not caused a problem. I am also not supposed to lift more than 12lbs, but I do . I live the same as before with no problem. BTW, I did not loose a breast. clear 6 yrs last Feb. Perhaps others have been able to dodge the teeth. For all my yrs, it has been few. Some were cuz I didn't quit when I should have. Bad dogs are never worth the money.

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          • #6
            unfortunately....

            Yes I know I have. Once by a cat when I first started grooming. That sucker locked onto my finger and the vet I worked for at the time had to pry him off. Definitely by far the most painful. A ouple of minor dog snips, I have learned to read their body language quite well over the years, and you can tell when they are gonna getcha, (most of the time) I used to groom anything, until one day my mom came to hang out with me for lunch. I was in a small salon, and it was like a big room with a partition to keep clients separate from the work area.
            I had a cocker on the table, and I stepped away 4 feet to speak with a client at which point my mom went to stand by him to make sure he would be okay. She did not get to close, but close enough, and I kid you not that dog leaped at her face and bit off half her nose. From that day forward, I absolutely REFUSE any dog that exhibits ANY kind of aggressive behavior, PERIOD. It's not worth it. There are plenty of wonderful dogs out there to groom, where you aren't placing yourself in a compromising position.

            By the way she went through 2 years of reconstructive surgery too.

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            • #7
              I think it is true that most groomers have been bitten, it kinda comes w/the territory...lol... That being said it is also true that almost all bites could have been avoided and are the result of inattention or not correctly reading the dog, or groomer vanity (ie, I never needed to muzzle Muffie before, I am not going to start now...lol). There are some good grooming tools out there to help prevent bites (GH, Muzzles, catch poles...I would not groom a dog that needed a catch pole) you just need to take the time to use them properly and to school yourself on reading dogs and how to properly handle them.

              I have been bitten quite a few times through the years, but only 2 or 3 of them would I say were bad. Most are nips from brats that I could have easily avoided if I weren't being a hard head and trying to do something I knew should be done w/ a muzzle.

              The times you will find are the "danger" times are getting the dog out of a cage, clipping toenails or messing w/feet, and working on the tail. Something else I have noticed is that I get bit a LOT less as I get more experienced (20+ yrs and counting). Whether this is because I am more cautious, tend to groom hazardous animals less, or just read them better now I really don't know.
              SheilaB from SC

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              • #8
                I guess part of the answer is in "What do you consider a bite"? you ARE gonna get nipped and chewed on a bit no matter what. No matter how careful you are there is gonna be some little dog with tiny legs that gets his teeth on you that pinches a bit but does no damage. A serious bite is another matter. I consider a serious bite a deep wound that can really put you at risk for infection or permanant damage and may take you out of work.

                I have not had any serious bites in the 16 yrs of Ive been grooming and I work with ALOT of troubled aggressive dogs who have been sent to me because other groomers cant do them. (I did have a serious bite when I was a bather before I went to grooming school from a mean ol cocker)

                I think if you are a groomer there is always the RISK of a serious bite. Especially if you want to work with more dangerous dogs, but that doesn't have to turn into a definite.

                Things to lessen your risks. Learn about animal behavior. Learn to read the signs and body language of dogs. Dont let your guard down with new dogs and know your clientel. When you have an "iffy" dog don't let yourself go into that "zone" where you are grooming on autopilot. Be aware at all times of what he is doing and his mood. Also have a good restraint system. I just have my regular loop but I am confident in it. I have heard really great things about "Groomers Helper" though and if you are worried get one.

                Another big thing to lessen your risk DO NOT BE AFRAID. You need to be confident when you work with dogs. If you are insecure, then they become insecure and the chance of being bit goes way up. If you take in a dog that you are afraid of, you are better off sending him home because working on a dog you are stressing about is going to stress him and make him more likely to strike out at you defensively.

                Know yourself and know your limits.

                Good luck!! hehe

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                • #9
                  Have you been bitten

                  Well, when someone asks me that I just laugh and roll my eyes. The odds are YES. I believe it's the #1 question I get asked. But, I think people are meaning, have you been seriously bitten. Me, no. But my sis who was helping me at my shop got fairly well torn up on her hand by a scottie.

                  astrordog

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                  • #10
                    I don't think you should expect to be bitten, however in order to avoid it, you need to know how to "read" a dog's behavior, use muzzles and restraints when necessary, and also know when to refuse a dog based on his behavior. I have only been bit in 5 years of grooming, it hurt although it did not break the skin. I was bit very badly once in 12 years of working as a registered vet. tech. That tought me to research and learn dog behavior and body language.
                    Lisa VanVleet, RVT

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                    • #11
                      Yes

                      Several times.

                      Once I got bit clean thru my nail. It was my fault. He said "Don't reach for me. DON'T reach for me! DON'T REACH FOR ME!!" Chomp!

                      Another time I had a Shih Tzu latch onto my nose after I misunderstood what she said while I was toweling her head & ears. I thought she said "mmmmm that feels good!!" What she was really saying was "I don't want you that close to my face."

                      Learn to watch & listen & don't overly concern yourself.

                      Erica

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                      • #12
                        Yup!

                        It is always the ones that you least expect to do it too! I have never been seriously effected by one though. THe longest time I was ever out was a couple of days with a cat bite. It's tooth pierced my cuticle, I tried cleaning it out with peroxide, I made it worse. DUH! He generally was a nice cat, but was freaked out since his mom was in the hospital.

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                        • #13
                          I have had only one bad bite in over 5 years of grooming. and that was in the first 6 months. Since then I have gotten better at reading body language and in controling the bite range.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jadenlea View Post
                            I consider a serious bite a deep wound that can really put you at risk for infection or permanant damage and may take you out of work.
                            It doesn't take a deep or large wound to put you at risk of infection or permanent damage. This last bite I had that got infected was a tiny puncture on the top of my wrist. It didn't even bleed much. In fact, I tried to make it bleed to flush out some of the bacteria, and I couldn't get it to bleed.

                            The bite occured at 1 in the afternoon. By 6 o'clock it was already starting to swell. And by 6 the next morning, my hand and arm were swollen and red from elbow to finger tips. I had to go to the ER, get IV antibiotics, see a neurologist (possible nicked nerve), back to the ER the same day for more IV antibiotics, and surgery on Monday. What started as a tiny puncture has left me with a 2 inch scar and a stiff wrist.

                            I'm not complaining though. It could have been worse. There was a woman in hospital the same day I had my surgery, who had a cat bite that was infected. She eventually lost her arm from just below the elbow.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Helly View Post
                              Yes, I've been bitten several times. Most of the bites are minor, and many are just pinches that don't even bleed. And since I started using the Groomer's Helper I've only had two bites, both of which happened as I was taking the dog off the table, so the GH wasn't hooked up.

                              However, I was mauled by a dog back in the mid 90s and had to have plastic surgery on my face.

                              And last summer one of those two bites I've gotten since I started using the GH turned nasty. It wasn't much of a bite, just a tiny puncture on the back of my wrist. But a piece of tartar from the dog's tooth broke off in my wrist, it became infected, I ended up in the ER twice for IV antibiotics, and had to have surgery to flush it out and remove that piece of tartar.

                              And yes, I'm of the opinion that it goes with the territory and is something you have to keep in the back of your mind at all times. No matter how well you protect yourself, it eventually happens. Maybe not a serious bite that requires medical attention, but a bite, none the less.

                              What type of dog was it that mauled you?????? How did it happen? I work by myself most of the time and try not to do the big guys when noone is here.

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